Monday, September 28, 2015

Movin' On Up (or How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Condo)

Free BBQ! (Photo Cred: Cousin Carrie)

Before I left for Virginia, I told Asher that he couldn't move out. The parents had already talked about selling the house and moving into a condo downtown. Ash was the last bastion of defense. As long as he lived at home, my Mother would never downsize and leave her son on the streets (the Dad was neutral on the issue). But it only took a few months before a slippery Argentinian named Dan persuaded Asher to move in with him (it's actually very easy to get Asher to agree to something - as long as the conversation is long enough, he'll stop paying attention and start nodding his head). But the nod turned out to be legally binding, and before you knew it, my childhood home was on the market.

I didn't panic yet. I still had two sisters in the game who could exert some influence. Surely Dani and Lisa could talk the parents out of exchanging our memories for lake views and subway accessibility. But the hardcore fans of this blog will remember that Dani is a wildcard who answers to no one. And even though there was no ice storm to assist her treachery this time, she still decided to go ahead and be a great real estate agent and garner multiple offers on the house for the parents. I don't know where Lisa was in all of this. Probably sleeping. 

So the house was sold and it fell to Hallie to convince the buyers to withdraw their offer before the grace period ended. Sadly, her negotiation skills were just not up to snuff. Either that, or the buyers had played "Where Has Elmo Gone?" before and weren't falling for her tricks. Avery wasn't born yet, so we didn't have the good cop/bad cop option that I am certain would have cracked these people. 

My contingency plans exhausted, I had nothing left to do but mourn my loss. I thought about all the simple pleasures this house had given me. I loved the way my Dad fussed around at his "snack station" and the way my Mom announced that she was home with such relief every time she came inside. I loved the way Dani sat on the stairs to greet anyone who arrived home late at night, the way Lisa danced in the kitchen, and the way Asher always said "come in" when I knocked on his door, even when he was asleep. I loved the way we all left notes for each other on the message board and how we never figured out the optimal way to load the dishwasher. 

And then I realized that Avery had been right this whole time! Those memories weren't about the house, they were about the people inside of it. True, it was our family home, but the family would still be together in the new place. And who knows what other little things I'd come to treasure about the way we inhabit the condo. That's one smart baby. 

"When I think of home I think of a place where there's love overflowing." - The Wiz

Sunday, May 10, 2015


In honour of Mother's Day, I wish to present you with one of my favourite stories of Lynne Lurie (aka the Mom aka Lynnesky aka Mommmmmm-Asher's-bugging-me!!!). Anyone who has met this fine lady knows the following three things: a) she has a classy accent b) she makes an unreal zucchini soup c) she is unfailingly kind. Growing up, I knew that I could come to my Mom with any problem and she would soothe my worries with her dulcet Zimbabwean tones and a dose of soup and I would soon be right as rain. Well, dear readers, my faith in my Mother's supply of unending comfort was tested one fateful day at age fifteen. Of course, the event took place in the one area of the planet sure to shatter any childhood illusions...

Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Advice to My Unborn Niece II

1. Jump in puddles.
2. Never skip breakfast.
3. Sometimes older kids think it's "uncool" to play with younger ones. Don't worry, they grow out of it. 
4. Ask questions.
5. Tell the truth.
6. Only the dumbest people don't wear seatbelts.
7. Grandpa David is going to pinch your cheeks, but he'll stop if you ask him enough times. 
8. Play pretend.
9. Don't worry about anything too much.
10. Don't let anyone trick you into thinking money is important. 
11. Daydream.
12. Be a humble winner and a gracious loser.
13. Never forget how lucky you are to have Hallie as your big sister.
14. Always double check your work. 
15. Try your hardest.
16. Rock-Paper-Scissors can resolve almost any disagreement.
17. If you're scared, ask to hold someone's hand.
18. Forgive easily.
19. Keep your promises.
20. Tell your Mom you're old enough to go to the theatre. 
21. Stop and smell the roses. This can be taken literally or figuratively. 
22. Don't play with doors. 
23. Hoarding Halloween candy never pays off. Just trust me on this.
24. You are stronger and smarter than you can possibly imagine.
25. Lead by example.
26. Popcorn and smarties. You're welcome.
27. Laugh until you cry.
28. If you want to know what bravery looks like, you can see it every time your Mom gets on an airplane.
29. Follow your hopes, not your fears.
30. There are few problems that reading a good book in a warm bath can't solve.
31. Give people the benefit of the doubt.
32. Think things through. 
33. Find that balance between washing your hands enough, but not too much.
34. Uncle Asher loves it when people tickle his feet.
35. Cake is meant to be eaten two slices at a time. 
36. Listen.
37. It doesn't matter what other people think of you.
38. Have secret handshakes with your friends. 
39. Walk outside barefoot. 
40. You and Hallie are on the same team.
41. Don't be afraid to make a mistake. 
42. Share. 
43. Your Dad will do anything for you. Use that power responsibly. 
44. Don't cheat. (I know you wouldn't anyway, I just have to say it). 
45. Remember people's names. 
46. Be silly.
47. Let Granny Lynne take photos of you. It means a lot to her. 
48. Dance in the rain. 
49. Learn how to play an instrument.
50. Don't let anyone ever tell you that you can't be exactly who you are. 

PS. I'm very excited to meet you. 

Monday, December 29, 2014

The Best Tweets of 2014

I think this list is even better than last year's. Keep up the good work, twitter! And congratulations to all those who made the cut - the internet is a better place because of you.

Bonus fun fact: for the second year in a row, one of my favourites is a tweet about "Ice, Ice, Baby"

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

How I Became a Feminist (and You Can Too!)

"We can never go back to before." - Ragtime

I used to think I wasn't a feminist. I was for equal rights, I confidently told myself, not favouring women over men. I wasn't interested in getting into heated arguments about the glass ceiling or birth control. And I had never once burned my bra.

Part of this disavowal came from my annoyance with the possessive apostrophe in "women's history." Just because I was female didn't mean this was more my history than the male sitting next to me. I felt that with that apostrophe came the presumption that because I was a woman I should be interested in women's history. And I don't take kindly to presumptions. I was grateful for the civil rights this history had given me, but I was equally thankful for other gifts from my predecessors, like germ theory and the Emancipation Proclamation. I was a human. My history was the history of humanity - of women and men, West and East, Emperor and colonist, Native and settler. It was all my inheritance, and everyone else's too.

Monday, July 07, 2014

Another High School Caper

High School Shira was exactly as cool as she thought she was

By popular demand, Shirby's Dream World is proud to present another high school caper. This one is not as comedically tragic as the code red story, but it is equally shocking in its unpredictability. This is a story about a sentence that has haunted me with its thrilling complexity since the age of seventeen. A turn of phrase so mysterious that it transformed an otherwise normal school outing into a life-altering misadventure.

Every May, around forty students and four teachers spent a weekend up north at an entirely student-run leadership retreat. In 2007, I was one of those students. (I also went in 2008, but nothing nearly as remarkable happened that year). We played sports, did trust exercises, talked about school issues, and met people from different social groups. This was just before Guitar Hero invaded our lives, and so I view it fondly as one of my childhood's last weekends of innocent, wholesome fun. 
So effing cool

Tuesday, May 13, 2014

The Big Race

The Taste of Success (Spoiler Alert)


After a youth spent participating in competitive sports, my active lifestyle ground to a halt when I started University. My once admirable level of physical activity now maxed out in the walk to and from class. And given that I lived on campus, this would only be an acceptable amount of exertion if I was walking on my hands. And I was not. My diet, never much to brag about, consisted of whatever I didn't have to cook. The cafeteria was a daily indulgence, the snack bar a nightly friend, and Pizza-Pizza a biweekly comfort. At my peak, I would literally take a large bowl intended for the SALAD BAR and fill it with Lucky Charms. Oh, the innocence of youth! 

Unsurprisingly, under this regimen I soon ballooned to mega-Shira proportions. Then I got a phone call informing me that I had made the Canadian Women's Soccer Team slated to compete at the Maccabiah Games. What are the Maccabiah Games, you ask? Thank you for asking. I'll tell you: The Maccabiah Games are basically the Jewish Olympics. Every four years, Jewish athletes from all over the world come to Israel to compete in their chosen sport. If you are now envisioning a bunch of Rabbis doing the 100m dash, you are not that far off.
The Canadian delegation schleps into the Opening Ceremonies